BMW has confirmed that production of its i8 plug-in hybrid sports car will end in April, nearly six years after it was launched.
The Porsche 911 rival will leave the market as BMW shifts focus to a new line of bespoke electric cars that includes the iX3 compact SUV, i4 saloon and iNext SUV flagship. A new sports car, based on last year’s Vision M Next concept, is expected to arrive within the next five years.
BMW is yet to confirm the exact date on which i8 production will end, but a company spokesman said: “UK customers interested in a built-to-order car will need to have placed their order with their local retailer by the end of February.”
BMW dealerships have already started to offer the i8 at significantly reduced prices in the run-up to its retirement. Several were offering the hardtop variant for £93,115 (Rs 85 lakh), which represents a discount of nearly £20,000 (Rs 18 lakh) over its £115,105 (Rs 1 crore) list price.
Initially revealed in turbodiesel concept form at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show, the i8 went on sale in 2014 as the high-performance flagship of BMW’s then-new i electrified vehicle range, above the i3 electric hatchback.
The mid-engined 2+2 has been sold with just one powertrain option throughout its production run: a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine mated to a low-output electric motor. Performance figures have remained largely unchanged, although a 2018 update boosted output from 357bhp to 369bhp.
BMW research and development bosses last year confirmed to Autocar UK that decisions were being made about the future of the i8, and that it could be reborn as an electric rival to the second-generation Tesla Roadster and long-rumoured Audi R8 e-tron.
Little is known about its drivetrain or design, but sources suggest it will be developed using a 'race to road strategy' that aims to provide a 'tangible link' between BMW’s involvement in Formula E and its i division.